Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Meaning of Love (Giveaway!)

The Meaning of Love

(with Giveaway)

What is love? Quite the question, isn’t it? Especially in today’s world.

Is it a gooey, gushy feeling? Or a flutter in the belly? I mean, really? Isn’t that what books and Hollywood say it is? I’m not being sarcastic, folks. I’m trying to make sense out of a truly complicated subject.

Well, let’s back up a minute.

We’re educated people, aren’t we? Let’s look at this in rational manner. Today’s world demands “unbiased” discussions (by unbiased, I mean no “religious talk.”) so we’ll only used the scientific method as a means to draw conclusions about the meaning of love.

So…how is a person supposed to define “love” especially when the very thing we’re talking about can’t be measured? Is not testable? How can it be dissected or analyzed, recreated in a scientific experiment? After all, that’s how life is supposed to work. That is the method of confirmation or repudiation of any theory in the scientific community, isn’t it?

We could poll a massive amount of people, look at the numbers, separate them into categories, draw conclusions and then develop hypotheses of what this may be or that may say. One problem. That’s not an experiment. That’s a study. In the end, the data reflects nothing but what the person looking at it says it does. Sorry, scientists and pundits, that’s a fact.

We could put a bunch of people in the same situation and watch how they act, but all that does is look at their behavior and catalog it. Again, that’s a study. The data defines nothing. It simply reflects what has occurred. The conclusions drawn are the opinions of the people doing the study.

The point I’m trying to make is that LOVE does not follow scientific laws. It can be studied but it can’t be reproduced in a controlled environment upon demand.

So, we’ve arrived once again at the original question. How does a person define “love?”

To answer this question, we first must look at what love is to the world around us. This may be painful for some of you, but it’s very important. Remember when I mentioned books and Hollywood? Let’s visit just those two and disregard the others.

In books on the market today, both Christian and secular, how is “love” commonly portrayed as well as expected? Think hard about this one, please and we’ll revisit it in a moment.

Although Christian film has made a splash more recently, Hollywood is known to portray “love” in a shallow or sexual manner in its sitcoms, television series, and movies. The content of an average Hollywood production contains sexual innuendo, homosexuality, premarital sex, divorce, extramarital affairs, teen sex…the list goes on. The family is portrayed as broken, disjointed, fatherless, or wounded. The problem with all this? It’s represents many American lives and families today. By doing this, Hollywood glorifies it and says it is acceptable.

But back to the original question, even if it is plastered all over our movie and television screens, is what they are showing “love?”

I’d like to look at the vows a husband and wife take when they stand before a Justice of the Peace.
Here are the vows that are prompted by a Justice of the Peace. Now, you can write your own vows, but that’s not what I’m driving at here. I want people to understand that this is what our society expects from us at marriage even though it’s been disregarded by so many. (This is taken from the State of New Hampshire.)

THE VOWS
We are gathered here this [DATE]
to unite this man
and this woman
in the bonds of holy matrimony which is an honorable estate. Into this, these two now come to be joined.
If anyone present can show just and legal cause why they may not be joined, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.
Who gives this woman to this man?
(MAN)
, will you have this woman as your lawful wedded wife, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love her, honor her, comfort her, and keep her in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, be true to her as long as you both shall live? (I will).
(WOMAN)
, will you have this man as your lawful wedded husband, to live together in the estate of matrimony? Will you love him, honor him, comfort him, and keep him in sickness and in health; forsaking all others, be true to him as long as you both shall live? (I will).
THE RING
BEHOLD the symbol of wedlock. The perfect circle of love, the unbroken union of this man and this woman united here today. May you both remain faithful to this symbol of true love.
Please join hands and repeat after me (man first, while placing ring on proper fingers).
I, [MAN]
, take
as my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
I, [WOMAN]
, take
as my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.
For as much as [MAN’S NAME]
and [WOMAN’S NAME]
have consented together in wedlock, and have witnessed the same before this company of friends and family, and have given and pledged their promises to each other, and have declared the same by giving and receiving a ring, and by joining hands.
By the authority vested in me by the State of New Hampshire,
I pronounce this couple to be husband and wife.



I reminded of my vows because as you can see these are not so different from those taken in a church. They also contain the one word which needs defined by BOTH parties before taking this step…LOVE.

And if you look, I believe we’ll find the very definition of love buried within the vows themselves. You see, love isn’t a feeling. It isn’t a gooey, gushy emotion. It’s action.

Nowhere above does it say, have sex twice a day (pardon my vulgarity), or kiss every time you see each other. Nor does it say, never have a fight, or make sure nobody looks at another human being. Or whatever you do, don’t fall down the stairs or get sick.

So what does it mean to love someone? It means to honor, to comfort, to keep, to nurture, to heal, to have, to hold. When? In good times, in bad times, when sick, when healthy, when rich, when poor.
And above all, trust one another. Where do I get THAT one?

The last vow. It’s the most important one of all and completes society’s guidance for marriage. It also helps us with the definition of love. We are to remain by the one we love until death. In other words…forever, through whatever comes our way—grief, betrayal, sickness, heartache—how else are we to do that except with trust?

What is love? Selfless and forgiving.

Our society expects it, and God expects it.

If you’re wondering how to do it, I’ll give you an example. His name is Jesus Christ. If you’re wondering what the true definition of love is, it's Calvary.

If you don’t think you can do it yourself, ask Him to help you.

1 Corinthians 13:5-8
1Co 13:4  Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
1Co 13:5  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
1Co 13:6  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
1Co 13:7  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Co 13:8  Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.


NOW…

Remember the question I asked about books? What do you think? Is love portrayed in a real manner in books today or is the ooey, gooey way to please the reader? And vice versa, is that the expectation of readers? Do they want the happy, shallow relationship because it’s easier to deal with?

I’m not just talking about secular books here, folks. Give me your opinion!

Leave your name and email in the comments as well and I’ll enter you in the drawing to receive a copy of my latest release, Racing Hearts. I’m also throwing in a bonus copy of Crazy Woman Christmas due out in November.


*** GIVEAWAY ***

Racing Hearts and Crazy Woman Christmas:


Racing Hearts:



Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on an adventure and welcome their new home with open arms. The lakes sparkle, the mountains glisten, and deep within, the seed of life grows. But challenges arise in their newfound paradise and soon, their love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.
For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? Now, that may prove to be the largest challenge of all…as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.









Crazy Woman Christmas:

A prodigal daughter meets a grieving son…
During her move back home, Bianca Kolceski takes a wrong turn in rural Wyoming and buries her car in a snowbank. Snow piles high outside until Devon Dawson knocks on her window. The quiet cowboy whisks her to his ranch to ride out the Christmas blizzard where Bianca discovers life is cold but also beautiful in the “Cowboy” state.
Christmas is the last thing on Devon’s mind, especially when a storm’s in the forecast, and “Joy to the World,” like his dreams, are ancient history. His world is the ranch, his parent’s legacy, and he labors day and night for it. But when he finds a lost Texan stranded on the side of the road, forgotten desires surface.


And Christ is born. It’s time to celebrate.



About Renee Blare:

Renee Blare has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she started writing poetry in junior high school and that, as they say, was that. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie. She’s been counting pills ever since. While writing’s her first love, well, after the Lord and her husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.
Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains, she lives in Wyoming with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat. She serves her beautiful small town as a pharmacist while penning her stories about struggling Christians as they travel along the journeys of their lives. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Website: http://www.reneeblare.com/
Blog: https://reneeblare.blogspot.com/

Group Blog: http://diamondsinfiction.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Book Review of Ryan Jo Summers' Beside Still Waters

A Faithful Review

Beside Still Waters

by

Ryan Jo Summers


About the Book, Beside Still Waters: 

Top Journalist and corporate climber McKayla Buchanan is sent to a remote California mountain camp for inner-city, at-risk teens. Accustomed to political and high-society assignments, she is suddenly a fish out of water. At Camp In As Much, she meets eight hostile and distrustful teens, assorted volunteers, rescued horses—and Clay.
Clay Michaels is the man who founded Camp In As Much and made it the success it is now. His hope for the highly recommended journalist is to come and write a feature to send seeds out to form other camps like his nationwide one. He never considered the reporter would turn out to be a lovely woman, or for him to have such an attraction to her.
Between McKayla’s worldly experience and Clay’s strong faith, they form a partnership to help with the endless challenges of the kids. 
While McKayla’s assignment is supposed to be temporary, it isn’t long before she and Clay are each wishing it could last longer. A serious situation will force McKayla to decide if she can give up her worldly ways and place her faith in the same higher source that Clay does.


About the Author, Ryan Jo Summers:

Born in Michigan, Ryan grew up surrounded by books, and has them piled and stacked high in her room. She’s had bookshelves to hold them as long as she can remember. Christmas and birthdays are easy in her home, just buy books. 
Her tastes in subject matter and genres grew as she matured and it seemed only natural for her to write as well as read. The first book she wrote was at age ten and was about a twelve page story that she also illustrated and stapled together into book format. 
Since then, she’s never stopped writing. Some articles make it into magazines, some stories make honorable mention in contests, and her journal has grown thicker. Writing poetry also serves as therapy to life's hurts, a trait apparently inherited from her dad's aunt. Writers, poets and songwriters…you could say she comes from a line of wordsmiths.
In 2012, selling "Whispers in Her Heart" for publication was a dream come true for Ryan, but also a pinnacle of thirty odd years of writing. With each new story, novel or novella that comes out, she grows as a writer and takes one more step on this incredible journey called life.


A Faithful Review of Beside Still Waters:

“Looking beyond their records and scars, he saw the honest heart of a child in need.”

Beside Still Waters takes us into the painful but rewarding world of youth rehabilitation. In addition, this book explores animal abuse. We watch young lives destroyed before they are even begun and the fight to offer hope to the hopeless. Learn about love in a way which makes us eager to show it to those who have none.

This book is well written and offers a good message for all. I give it five stars. Well, done, Ms. Summers.


All books reviewed are either provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest opinion or purchased personally by Renee. Her reviews are not for sale or in exchange for any services or fees.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hearts Race in the Rocky Mountains October 28th

A "Love Is" Novella

RELEASES OCTOBER 28th

by Prism Book Group





PRE-ORDER NOW
ON AMAZON 


RACING HEARTS is a story of love and trust. Based on my difficult pregnancy in my marriage, Racing Hearts is set in the beautiful town of Jackson, Wyoming. Discover what God teaches a young couple about life and love as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Full of hope for the future, a young couple sets off on an adventure and welcome their new home with open arms. The lakes sparkle, the mountains glisten, and deep within, the seed of life grows. But challenges arise in the newfound paradise and soon, their love faces a trial of almost insurmountable odds.
For the two Christians, placing the fate of their unborn child in the hands of God seems rather easy, but trusting each other? Now that may prove to be the largest challenge of all...as hearts race in the Rocky Mountains.

Would you like to know more about Racing Hearts?
Would you like to know more about Renee Blare?
Would you like to INTERVIEW Renee?
Would you like to REVIEW Racing Hearts
Contact Renee at contact@reneeblare.com or comment below.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Renee Blare has been buried in a book for as long as she can remember. Although raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, she calls Wyoming home. She lives with her husband, crazy dogs, and ornery cat nestled up against the Wind River Mountains and pens her suspense-filled stories when she's not counting pills, fishing, hunting or picking away on her classical guitar. Drop by her social media or website and say hi. She'd love to hear from you.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Wild Horses and the Trails of Reba Cahill Series with Janet Chester Bly

HOW TO RUN WITH WILD HORSES

Tales from the Research of the Trails of Reba Cahill Series

by

Janet Chester Bly




In a scene in Book 2, Down Squash Blossom Road, a small herd of wild horses gallops across a Nevada desert terrain and Reba Cahill drives slower to keep pace and stay with them as long as possible.

Reba’s mother is in the car with her and confides, “Getting close to them, it's like trying to capture all the wildness for yourself. It pulls deep inside ... the chase, the rush, the risk." Reba had earlier discovered her mom is known as “Wild Horse Hanna” by the Paiutes in that region.

I enjoyed the research about wild horses for this series. The legends of wild horses invade history as far back as Greek mythology, such as Pegasus, the winged horse. And although the four horses in Revelation 6 are somewhat tamed because they are ridden, they bring the wildness of death, famine, war, and conquest.

Modern day wild mustangs tend to have very long-range vision, more than a mile. Their sense of hearing is also acute, over a thousand feet away. They prefer the plains, as long as it has grass and water. There can be as many as fourteen in a herd. They’re often seal brown or dun, but come in many other colors too.

Wild horses fascinate the human spirit. And any tame horse is not far from being wild. Within one generation of being set loose, any group of horses take on their instinctive wild nature.

Indians loved to ride wild horses. Usually the laggard of the herd, not the best horse was caught. One method was to control the newly captured mustang with a thin thong around its muzzle. When it jerked, it exerted hard pressure on the nose. The Indian talked to the pony with grunts deep in the chest to soothe the terrified animal. Then he passed his hands and a blanket over the pony’s body and punished any protest with a jerk of the thong. He rested his weight on the pony’s back, swung a leg over to mount, and off they’d go.

In Book 1, Wind in the Wires, a different kind of method is used by one of the characters to ride a wild horse. I’ll let you have the fun of discovering that scene.

I happen to live on the Nez Perce Reservation in north-central Idaho. The Nez Perce tribe is very equestrian, noted for their good horsemanship and being naturals on horseback. I love to watch, and video when I can, any horses on the run. On Pinterest, one of my boards is named “Heavenly Horses,” a way to capture the images of the most awesome of these creatures.

What has been your experience with wild horses?

Or have you had interesting adventures with tame ones?


†  †  †  G I V E A W A Y  †  †  †




Janet’s giving away one copy of her book to one winner!

(Digital or Paperback)

Winner will be selected by random draw on 10/17/2016. Enter by answering the above questions in the comments below.

Don’t forget to leave your email address!


† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †



About the Book: Down Squash Blossom Road

What Secret Lies Down Squash Blossom Road?
Cowgirl Reba Cahill’s schedule is full. Save the family ranch. Free her mom from a mental institute. Solve a murder and kidnapping. Evade a stalker. Can she also squeeze in romance?

Reba Cahill focused on the duties of the ranch, along with her widowed grandmother. But a crippled Champ Runcie returns to Road’s End in a wheelchair and seeks revenge for the accident that put him there. He blames Reba's horse. Meanwhile, a letter from her estranged mom forces her and Grandma Pearl back on the road: I can leave now. Come get me. Love, Mom

When they arrive in Reno, her mother issues a demand and refuses to return to Idaho. They head west instead. In California, Reba’s friend Ginny’s marriage is on the rocks. The family business is threatened. And squabbles turn deadly.

Reba digs deep to find the courage to forge a relationship with her mom and escape a crazed man’s obsession. She also hopes for a future with a horse trainer who offers her a new horse to replace the one she lost in the accident. But why does he have a photo of a pretty woman on his wall?  


About the Author: Janet Chester Bly

Janet Chester Bly is the widow of Christy Award winning western author Stephen Bly. Together they published 120 fiction and nonfiction books for adults and kids. Janet and their three sons finished Stephen’s last novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot, a Selah Award Finalist. Down Squash Blossom Road is Book 2 in the Reba Cahill contemporary western mystery series. Book 1 is Wind in the Wires. Find out more at www.BlyBooks.com

Download Now! 5 Free Chapters of Down Squash Blossom Road, Book 2!

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

It's Fall in God's Country

A Cool Wind Blows


It's time for change.


Mother Nature sucks in a deep breath and buckles down for the upcoming days...whatever they may bring.

It's the time of year when she shakes loose the last of Summer's hold in preparation for Old Man Winter. 

Welcome to the Wind Rivers. 




We stand in the grip of Autumn, and wow, is it a sight to behold!



The pines stand tall with fellow aspens at their side, quaking with the breathtaking change of the season. 

They bathe the forest in gold and burnt orange as bare granite peaks stand guard.







It's beautiful.

Postcard perfect. 





Then the sun darkens and clouds roll over the mountains.

Raindrops fall.





Leaves tumble from their perches and carpet the forest floor. 


Winter's on its way.








This is Fall in God's Country.



Praise the Lord!

Isa 55:12  "For you shall go out with joy, And be led out with peace; The mountains and the hills Shall break forth into singing before you, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."



Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee began writing poetry in junior high school. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she's been counting pills ever since. While writing's her first love, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Once again in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains with her husband, crazy dogs and ornery cat, she serves her small community as a pharmacist and pens her stories any chance she can get. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.